Caye Caulker is a small island off the coast of Belize, close to the famous 'Blue Hole'. Colourful buildings & people and gorgeous white sand beaches. Transportation is by foot or golf cart, but you can walk around the whole island in an hour at the most. Pleasant & laid back with a number of small, but great & varied restaurants & bars. There are several good dive & snorkelling businesses & the sea life viewing is 'spectacular'!
Fondest memory: My favorite memory of Caye Caulker is swimming with the reef sharks & playing with the manta rays in the warm Caribbean Sea.
Favorite thing: A couple of blocks up toward the Split from our Trends hotel, on Middle Street, is where two cyber cafes are located, practically across the street from each other. We only tried the Caye Caulker Cyber Cafe because it was clean, had fast machines and was quite reasonably priced, usually costing us about US$2.50-5.00 for the use of two computers long enough to check on and write a few emails. They also have a deal whereby, if you stay on longer than 15 minutes or so (I cannot remember the exact times) you get a free drink from their attached bar. These drinks keep coming the longer you stay on-line, maybe they are hoping you will eventually slump over the machine and leave it permanently connected! Although we never took advantage of this offer, their bar did look quite 'posh'!
Favorite thing: Caye Caulker is a really off the beaten path type of island, barely visible on the map as you can see, located in the Caribbean Sea 21 miles north of Belize City. It is one of more than 200 cayes located along the coast and off-shore barrier reefs of Belize, and it has slowly been 'discovered' by tourists in the past decade or so (especially since the airstrip was built in 1992). With it's palm-fringed beaches, great diving and snorkeling possibilities, sandy streets and no cars or trucks, I can see how a person might just decide that this is good enough for me! It can most quickly be reached by a 10-15 minute airline flight or, most cheaply, by a 35-40 minute water taxi ride from Belize City. From Caye Caulker, day excursions can be arranged for either enjoying the water all around you or combining a boat trip with tours of Mayan ruins located on the mainland.
Favorite thing: Since I don't bother with owning a cellular phone, I find that it is always handy to have a local phone card to avoid the hassles of having the correct change on hand should you need to make a call for some reason. Not knowing how often we would use the card, I bought the lowest denomination possible (BZ$5 or US$2.50) and, in the end, we actually used it up and bought another one which ended being half-used. They are the typical scratch the back strip and use the PIN on the card in conjunction with an '800' number. The cards can be purchased at various convenient places anywhere in Belize and, since the whole country is in the same area code, there are no long distance charges. This was very useful as I phoned from San Pedro to the Belmopan area looking for accommodations for that evening and another day made calls from Belmopan to Hopkins for the same reason.
Favorite thing: They have really good pastries and its much cheaper than going out for breakfast. You haven’t lived till you’ve tried the cinnamon buns We managed to get some freshly squeezed orange juice from Chan’s to go with them.
Favorite thing: If you walk straight up from the pier you will find Chan’s on your left hand side on middle street (as far as I remember). You will find everything you need here (or at least the largest selection of things on the island).
Lots of large, black frigatebirds with forked tails are always in the background here, soaring overhead. They have up to a seven-foot wingspan and are known for harassing other birds and stealing their food, which resulted in their nickname, Man’o’War birds. Some have a little white underneath, and males have a red pouch at the throat. They’re so common that the Belize Audobon Society has a frigate bird chasing a red-footed booby on its official seal.
Pelicans, herons, and egrets are also abundant.
Favorite thing: The diversity of people in Belize, and their friendliness, is definitely one of my favorite things that makes this country stand out from other tropical destinations. On Caye Caulker the majority of locals are black Creoles, with a minority of Mestizos (Hispanics). This is the reverse of on the mainland, where they also have about 10% Mayan Indians and small communities of British expats (since this used to be British Honduras), Garifuna, and Mennonites. We saw two Mennonites on Caye Caulker - boy did they stand out in a crowd! : ) Then of course you have the tourists. Nine years ago most of the visitors were American; today, most are European. We saw or heard travellers from France, Germany, Sweden, Italy, England, Canada, and the U.S.
I must say, this is NOT my favorite thing: you can’t drink the tap water in Caye Caulker – it’s a bit salty. You'll notice this in the shower. You’ll have to buy bottled water to drink. If you’re here for more than a day or two, you can buy a 5-gallon jug of water for $5BZ ($2.50US) - our hotel manager called the water guy and he delivered it for us. We had to give him a $15BZ deposit on the bottle, but we got that back when we left and returned the bottle to him. We ended up purchasing two of these 5-gallon jugs, and the first one was great, but the second one still had a hint of salt to it.
Fondest memory: At least the water AROUND Caye Caulker in the ocean is a beautiful color, brilliant turquoise with patches of mint green. Gorgeous!
Favorite thing: Belize dollars are pegged to US dollars, two to one. There are no ATM’s on the island. However, this is not as big a problem as I thought it might be. Just bring cash, and if you run out, many more places than I would’ve imagined take Visa. Atlantic Bank on Middle Street exchanged some US$ for us without charging any fee at all, at the legal two-to-one rate. If you’re in a pinch, places will take US$ instead of Belizean$, at the rate mentioned. And the bank can handle cash advances on your Visa if you need it.
Everywhere you go there seems to be happy hour in Caye Caulker. It actually lasts for three hours everyday usually from 4-7pm. Every bar, or most of them, have this and if you like rum then you're in business! The local rum is cheap and during happy hour you can buy two for the price of one.
If you don't like rum I would recommending trying to like it! The beer (Belikin) is okay but I've tasted better so when I was there I went with the rum.
Here you can see me with a drink on the beach at Caye Caulker.
Fondest memory: The laid back atmosphere. The world may be in a hurry competing in a rat race but at Caye Caulker everything stands still. It's got to be the most laid back, lazy place I have ever been.
Aside from the snorkeling tours, definitely find a pier to roost, sit back, relax and read a great book or write your best memoirs looking out into the ocean with it's many different colors of blue and the sun just about to set in all of it's amber/orange and reddish glory against the sky and feel the balmy seabreeze kiss your lips as you take a deep breath, a breath not known anywhere but from within your soul.
Fondest memory: We took TropicAir from the Belize City airport and got an 8 seater all to ourselves. Flying out over the ocean and seeing all the little atolls and islands nestled with in the deep blues and greens of the sea. Some inhabited and some not. Then coming upon Caye Caulker and looking for our landing strip. All we could see on either side of us was ocean blue water and as we approached the island again on either side of us were the island mangroves cleared to below the landing strip site which was made out of white gravel sand and probably no wider than 8-10 feet!! We had confidence in our Captain who has flown in Belize all of his young life and we made a perfect landing! Finally we are here.........
Here's a sample day for us at Caye Caulker. Me (36) my wife (40) and our son (8).
7:00 am - Yawn and stretch and grab a nice cool drink of water from the fridge.
7:30 am - Walk over to the Bakery on Middle street for Cinammon Rolls and cookies for snacks.
8:30 am - Breakfast eaten. Sunscreen applied, we walk 2 minutes to the Split.
8:32 am - 12:30 ish - Hang at the Split. Swim. Snorkel. Meet fellow travelers. Watch a guy catch a HUGE Baracudda off the old sea wall. Max the island life.
1:00 ish - 4:00 ish - Light lunch then find shady spot to read, snooze, GameBoy, etc...zzzzz Siesta!!
4:30 ish - Stroll front street to check out the scene. Grab a scoop of ice cream. Watch a a little volleyball. Watch the guys trying to learn to windsurf. Meet fellow travellers. Look for our favorite island kitty "BullsEye". Push Luke on the tire swing. Pick up coconuts for later. Check out the guys selling jewelry to see what they made that day.
6:00 ish -Dinner. Either out or at the cabana.
8:00 - 10:00 - Bask in the glow of another day in Paradise.
Repeat ad nauseum, or until you've maxed your VISA!! :-)
Fondest memory: Just the totally friendly, laid back atmosphere! The sunsets were awesome.
Fondest memory: Here is Caye Caulker upon arrival. It was very exciting, because it already looks so nice and quiet even before you set your foot on shore. It is a 45 minutes to 1 hour boat ride from Belize City. The boat is pretty fast, and the ride might get bumpy and the water might splash you a little, but nothing major...
Well, there is a place on the beach.
Big blue restaurant/bar, right on top of the water... you cannot miss!!
They have amazing margaritas!! Expensive ($7-8 for one!) but very good....mmmm
We were so happy with our stay at Seaside Cabanas; we've only been back for a week and we're already...more
Great, small, self service condos just across the street from the ocean and a few blocks from Caye...more
The sea view cabins might be a little bit of a stretch of the word "view" but it was still good...more